Turkish reporter released after 'disinformation' arrest
November 7, 2023 11:56 AM
A top Turkish investigative reporter walked free Monday, days after being detained under a controversial new "disinformation" law over an article about judicial corruption.
Tolga Sardan, 55, was arrested and charged last Wednesday over a story he had published the day before on the T24 independent news site.
The article concerned an alleged report presented to the presidency by the MIT intelligence agency about its probe into corruption in Turkey's legal system.
The presidency denied the existence of the MIT report moments after Sardan's detention.
Sardan's arrest was one of the most prominent under Turkey's new "disinformation" law, which threatens journalists and social media users with jail terms of up to three years.
The legislation was adopted last year with the help of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party, further tightening the government's grip over news sites and social media platforms.
A Turkish court on Monday agreed to release Sardan under the condition that he remains in Turkey pending trial, T24 reported.
"I stand by what I wrote," the news site quoted Sardan as saying after leaving the notorious Marmara prison on the outskirts of Istanbul.
"I was only doing journalism," he said. "I was trying to inform the public".
Turkey's constitutional court is due to consider this week whether a new clause added to the disinformation law banning the "dissemination of false information" -- the charge facing Sardan -- was legal.
Turkey was ranked 165th out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders' 2023 World Press Freedom Index.